Man eats expired food to prove expiry dates mean nothing

A man ate expired food for a whole year and lived to tell the tale. This was in a bid raise awareness about the confusing nature of expiration dates on consumer products.

Scott Nash, an American, got the idea for his unusual experiment three years ago when he ate a yoghurt that was six months past the expiration date.

The “staunch environmentalist” and owner of MOM’s Organic Market, a DC area grocery store chain, had forgotten the yoghurt in the fridge of his old cabin in Virginia in the Spring and only found it again when returned in the Fall.

By that time it was half a year past its expiration date, but that didn’t stop him from mixing it with his smoothie and chugging it down. It didn’t taste funny and he didn’t experience any health problems. That got him thinking about the way companies use expiration dates nowadays. “They are very vague. What does ‘expire’ mean? There is ‘best by,’ there is ‘sell by,’ ‘best if used by.’ I just think that there is no consistency, and that it is creating confusion,” Nash wrote in a blog post.

A man ate expired food for a whole year and lived to tell the tale (Photo: Stock)

“The Food Product Dating system for food (and non-edible goods) needs to be revised. Consistency in labeling (use one term for quality such as ‘best by’ or ‘for best quality, use by’ and another term for food safety such as ‘expires by’) would create clarity. And these dates need to be set to match reality. Some items don’t need a date at all – like salt, canned goods, and baby wipes.”

During the year-long experiment, Nash and his family ate anything from tortillas that were a year past date, yoghurt that was seven, eight or nine months past date, meats that were weeks past their expiration dates, and heavy cream that was a few months past the dates stamped on its label.

At one point, he even used the butter that had become moldy after being left for months in the fridge.

The Food Product Dating system for food (and non-edible goods) needs to be revised (Photo: Stock)

He just scraped off the mold, and used it for cooking. And everyone was fine.

Nash says some foods go bad and have to be thrown away, but there are better ways to tell than checking the expiration date. If something looks, smells or tastes funny, you probably shouldn’t eat it, but most people suffer from something Nash calls “consumer anxiety disorder” which makes them discard perfectly good products because of an arbitrary date.


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